Fat acceptance movement

From Academic Kids

The fat acceptance movement, more recently referred to as the fat liberation movement, is a grass-roots effort to change societal attitudes about people who are fat. The movement, generally accepted as having started in 1969, has gained steam since the 1980s and 1990s, and now includes several activist organizations, publications and conferences.



In 1969, William Fabrey founded the National Association to Aid Fat Americans, later renamed the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance. A few years later in Los Angeles, Sara Fishman (then going by Aldebaran) and Judy Freespirit, founders of a local NAAFA chapter, separated from NAAFA in 1973 to form their own radical activism group, the Fat Underground. Four years later, Fishman moved to New Haven where she, along with Karen Scott-Jones, founded the New Haven Fat Liberation Front, an organization similar to the Fat Underground in its radical (for the time) actions.

Their writings, along with those of others, were published to a wide audience for the first time in 1983, with the release of Shadow on a Tightrope.

After a relative lull in the mid-1980s to early-1990s, the independent zine community began addressing fat liberation again, with zines like Marilyn Wann's Fat!So? beginning in 1993 and Nomy Lamm's I'm So Fucking Beautiful in the same year. More Recently, Sabrina Darling has collaborated with other members of the new generation of fat liberation to release the zine Two By Four. In addition to zines, ther has recently been a flourishing of books written on the subject including Wann's book of the same title as her zine (1998), a collection of short stories by fat people (What Are You Looking At? 2003) and Paul Campos's examination of the health fallacies regarding fatness (The Obesity Myth 2004).

Finally and most recently, there has been a flourishing of national conferences devoted to the subject of fat activism, including NOLOSE in New Jersey, the conference of the former National Organization of Lesbians of SizE (now just NOLOSE); NAAFA's annual conference held in California; and the largest conference, Stacy Bias's FatGirl Speaks in Portland, Oregon.


Fat acceptance covers several fronts but generally can be surmised as attempting to change societal, internal, and medical attitudes about fat people.

Societal: The movement argues that fat people are targets of hatred and discrimination, with women in particular subject to more social pressure. Hatred is seen in multiple places including media outlets, where fat people are often ridiculed or held up as objects of pity. Discrimination, it is argued, comes in the form of lack of equal accessibility to transportation and employment.

Internal: The movement also argues that people of all shapes and sizes should accept themselves as they are, at any size. It promotes "health at any size," which places one's mental and physical health before physical appearance and size.

Medical: Through the works of authors such as Paul Campos and Sandy Swzarc, the fat acceptance movement has arguably improved its standing on health at any size. The movement's stance is that doctors should treat the problems of fat people independent of weight.

The movement faces challenges internally as well. Organizations such as the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA) and the International Size Acceptance Association (ISAA) are small, numbers-wise, and people interested in the movement tend to be clustered in larger cities - and spread across medium- to small- sized web communities. In addition, NAAFA's history has been entangled with Dimensions Magazine, a highly visible website for men who have sexual preferences for fat women. NAAFA has recently changed leadership in order to cut these ties, and has made several policy changes (including taking a stance against feederism, the practice of weight gain for sexual pleasure) which were applauded in the fat community. The role of sites such as Dimensions in the movement is a contested issue.

Fat acceptance has ties and common ground with the feminist movement and, arguably, the civil rights movement.

Visible People in Fat Acceptance

  • Marilyn Wann, author of FAT!SO? and Activism Chair of NAAFA.
  • Nomy Lamm, performance artist and writer of I'm So Fucking Beautiful.
  • Paul Campos, author of books such as The Obesity Myth.
  • Paul McAleer, author of Big Fat Blog.
  • Sandy Szwarc, author of articles challenging widely-held beliefs on fat and health[1] (http://www2.techcentralstation.com/1051/searchauthor.jsp?Bioid=BIOSZWARCSANDY)
  • Allen Steadham, President of ISAA.

External links

fr:Acceptation des gros


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